isabel allende was born in 1942, the cousin of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. She worked as a journalist, playwright and children's writer in Chile until 1974 and then in Venezuela until 1984. Her first novel for adults, The House of the Spirits, was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since all her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.
Gr 6-10-Combine a magical world, mystical shamanic adventure, and feisty and eccentric characters with a fast-paced eco-thriller and you have Allende's first book for young adults. Set in the lush and treacherous Amazonian rain forest, this is the story of 15-year-old Alexander Cold and 12-year-old Nadia Santos. While his mother is in Texas for chemotherapy treatment, Alex is spending the summer with his emotionally distant grandmother, who has been hired to find and write an article on the "Beast" that has been terrorizing the jungle. Partially funded by a suspicious businessman, the party includes a self-centered professor, several photographers, a government doctor and soldiers, a few native Indians, and a guide, Csar Santos, who brings along his daughter. Alex and Nadia become good friends, and together discover their own inner strengths through visions and shamanic journeys with the local tribe. The plot is as thick as its jungle setting. There are dangers such as the terrifying humanoid Beast that kills with huge claws, anacondas, natives with poison dart arrows, and an untrustworthy member of the expedition. The story is a struggle between good and evil, filled with surprises and adventure. Put this title on your "If You Liked Harry Potter" lists, and Allende may just find new fans. Though this is a rather hefty book, it is a real page-turner with hope for more, as Allende leaves readers with, "Until we meet again-."-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Praise for Isabel Allende: 'A magical storyteller' Daily Mail 'Allende's writing is so vivid we hear the sounds, see the bright birds, smell and even taste the soft fruit.' The Times 'A wonderful, seemingly effortless storyteller; you feel yourself sink into the folds of her narrative with an almost childlike certainty that you're going to hear a good story well told.' Irish Independent 'Her prose is rich and magical, her characters vivid. She mixes violence and horror, love and humour, with more than a touch of genius.' Mary Wesley praise for Daughter of Fortune: "A dazzling, sweeping story." MAIL ON SUNDAY "Romance, passion and adventure fuel Allende's new novel. With an old-fashioned narrative drive and a warm-hearted heroine, it wins you over." SUNDAY EXPRESS "Memory and imagination and myth weave their spells... Allende creates world upon world in dazzling descriptive prose." INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY "Within the lush sweep of this tale of the heart, there is a message that love is transient and illusory, that it is the beginning of a journey of self-discovery, not the end. Daughter of Fortune takes us from high-class soirees to brothels, revolutionary meetings and opium dens; it introduces a cast of colourful characters and the story remains fresh and original." TLS
A 15-year-old accompanies his eccentric grandmother on a writing assignment in South America to search for a legendary nine-foot-tall "Beast." PW said the "action and outcome seem cleverly crafted to deliver the moral, but many readers will find the author's formula successful with its environmentalist theme, a pinch of the grotesque and a larger dose of magic." Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.